Hail as big as golf balls blanketed roads and lawns as severe thunderstorms rolled through the suburbs Saturday.
Car damage was reported from the hail that erupted from a line of severe thunderstorms that moved through the western and northern suburbs with wind gusts as high as 60 mph shortly before noon, according to the National Weather Service.
National Weather Service spotters reported hail of 2-inch diameter in Algonquin and Barrington, 1.75 inches in Lake Zurich and Palatine, 1.5 inches in Carpentersville and Lake in the Hills, 1.25 inches in Huntley and Long Grove, and 1 inch in Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Hoffman Estates and Wheeling.
At the height of the storm Saturday morning, the weather service had issued severe thunderstorm warnings for northern Cook County, Lake County, northeastern Kane County and eastern McHenry County.
About 15 cars were damaged in the front parking lot at Motor Werks of Barrington as a result of the morning storms, said C.J. Romig, the dealership's general sales manager.
Only two of the vehicles were ones the dealership was trying to sell; most belonged to customers who were shopping for new cars at the time, Romig said.
Most of the damaged cars had dents, but about five also had broken windows, he said.
While the large hail appeared to have the harshest effect on vehicles parked in the dealership's front lot, those parked in the back weren't damaged, he said.
"It's weird how the storm came in a line," Romig said. "It's a weird pocket that came through."
In Algonquin, resident Shelly Gardner reported seeing hail at least the size of golf balls coming down at about 11:15 a.m. and lasting for five to 10 minutes.
"I've been in the Chicago suburbs my whole life, and certainly by far this was one of the largest hail storms I've seen," Gardner said.
Gardner was home Saturday morning with her husband, son and two family dogs when the storms hit. The noise created by hail pounding on their house was "pretty incredible," she said, but luckily their home wasn't damaged.
After the storm, she said she and her neighbors went outside to take pictures of their front yards, which were about 60 percent covered with the white ice balls.
National Weather Service forecasters called for additional thunderstorms overnight Saturday as a slow-moving cold front approached the area. Periods of heavy rainfall were expected to hit late Sunday afternoon through Sunday night, according to the weather service.